Confirmation that the Department of Education & Skills have approved an application from Cavan Monaghan ETB to increase enrolment in Breifne College, Cavan and indeed in Cólaiste Dún an Rí, Kingscourt is a great tribute to the management and staff in both schools who are clearly delivering for the students in their region is most welcome. I join with my council colleagues Seán Smith and Patricia Walsh and Deputy Brendan Smith in welcoming these announcements.
Cólaiste Dún an Rí is a particular project for Cllr. Clifford Kelly and I know that he will have been at the very heart of this application as he is at every positive development in that school.
I too acknowledge the work Cavan Monaghan ETB in advancing these projects and hope to see funding announcements follow these approvals in early course, but it is important to note that Cólaiste Dún an Rí is a new building and new buildings have only recently been put in place in Breifne College. The question arises as to how much thought went into those initial projects, how much ‘future proofing’ was actually done by the ETB. This points to me that the schools run by the ETB are successful in spite of and not because of the planning of the ETB.
I also note that there are no announcements regarding St. Mogue’s Bawnboy and St. Bricin’s, Belturbet. Of course, ministers can only approve projects sent up to the Department and despite a lot of talk not much is happening to improve infrastructure in these two schools. It is time that the ETB showed some good faith towards both school communities.
I fear that the ETB Executive are playing a long game, they are obfuscating with reviews that do not seem to be happening, suggestions of a few euro hear and there for both schools and hoping that with time, opposition will dissipate. The reality is that the proposal to close both schools remains the formal policy of the ETB. It is past time that the members of the ETB deal with this issue and make it clear that both schools have a future.
In simple terms, if the ETB invested properly in St. Bricin’s it could cater for many of the students who might otherwise go to schools in Cavan Town. If the ETB were looking at the most recent statistics it is clear that population growth will continue in the Cavan Town Region and that expansion of the schools in the Town would still be needed but part of that demand could be catered for by fully using the infrastructure in St. Bricin’s College, sustaining it and protecting the benefit of the school for the Town.
The same case arises for St. Mogue’s, let us see the ETB act, let us see the plans submitted to the Minister and her Department.
John Paul Feeley has warmly welcomed funding of € 199,800 under the Town & Village Renewal Scheme for two important projects in Belturbet.
A further €22,200 has been provided by Cavan County Council by way of matching funding.
These two projects address two significant needs in Belturbet and represent an ongoing commitment from Cavan County Council to the improvement of services in Belturbet.
‘The Shannon-Erne Waterway has brought great investment and activity to Belturbet but it has not yet reached its full potential. Providing a new services block and riverside amenities will provide a safe focal point along the river and make the river more accessible for locals and visitors alike. I know that Project Belturbet and the Inland Waterways Association have worked closely with the County Council and Waterways Ireland in progressing this project.
Secondly the need for better supports for teenagers has long been identified in Belturbet. The development of the Bounce Back Project is part of that response. They have taken up use of the old Fire Station in recent years. This allocation will allow work to continue the Belturbet Youth Hub.
Bounce Back represents the best of cooperation between Cavan County Council, Cavan-Monaghan ETB, Youthwork Ireland and ensuring that it has a proper building from which to operate is essential.
Concluding Councillor Feeley noted that of the nine applications submitted by Cavan County Council two were not granted funding.
‘This is a very welcome and important announcement of funding but more than one project in the Cavan Belturbet MD should have received support. It includes some of the most disadvantaged communities in the County and as such requires additional supports. We will have to re-evaluate how the unsuccessful schemes can be addressed in future funding opportunities.
Chair of the Economic Development SPC of Cavan County Council has welcomed the allocation of just over € 238,000 to support existing Enterprise Spaces in County Cavan.
This funding is to assist the operators of Enterprise Spaces who have seen their income fall and costs increase to comply with Covid-19 regulations. In these challenging times the funding is a welcome and much needed support.
The funding allocated to Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre of € 99,040, Cavan, € 56,128 to Cavan Digital Hub and € 83,200 to Cavan County Enterprise Fund which operates a network of enterprise spaces throughout the county.
The groups to whom funding have been allocated have been to the fore in providing work space, some for many years and have provided support and encouragement to their client companies. Many small enterprises around the county have grown as a result of this work. Covid-19 must not be allowed damage that work. This funding will hopefully assist these facilities deal with the current situation and they and their tenants will get back to some sort of normality in the coming months.
The funding announced today is part of € 8.24 million allocated nationally through Enterprise Ireland’s Enterprise Centres Fund.
Contractors are to commence work today (20th November 2020) on a new carpark in Glan Gap for those wishing to access Cuilcagh from the Glangevlin side. The LEADER funding project will include minor upgrade works at the Altachullion Viewing Point, Tullydermot Waterfall and put in place a lowland walk from Tullytermot to Alteen.
Access to Cuilcagh has been a growing issue. More and more people want to climb to the highest point in Cavan and Fermanagh. Experiencing the natural beauty of our countryside should not be the preserve of the view but be as open as possible to all. Of course, the protection of the environment is also of paramount importance. This investment addresses part of the issue in that it will take cars off the road across Glan Gap providing a safe parking place for people to leave their car as they head to the mountain summit.
Furthermore, the investment at Altachullion and Tullydermott will make both sites more attractive. The creation of a further marked walkway in the lower slopes of Cuilcagh will provide people with an option to experience the Cuilcagh Mountains without having to climb to the summit. It will be a welcome addition to the other marked walking routes in the Swanlinbar area some of which have also been upgraded in recent months by the Council.
As a local county councillor I thank all local landowners for their cooperation in this project and the staff of the Council who have done so much preparatory work, engaging with interested parties, statutory agencies and the principal funder, LEADER.
This investment is a welcome first step as far as I am concerned. It will improve things greatly in Glan Gap. It will take some of the pressure of the Legnabrocky Trail better known as the Stairway to Heaven on the Fermanagh side.
Cuilcagh is a key part of the Geopark, shared between the two counties and having on its slopes the key site of the Marble Arch Caves, Cavan Burren Park, the Shannon Pot and the Stairway to Heaven.
The improvement of facilities for those accessing Cuilcagh has been a constant issue for me over these past few years. I have raised this matter again recently at a Municipal District Meeting. We need to put in place designated marked routes bringing people to the summit of the mountain. We must do so in the interest of walkers, landowners and the sensitive environment that is Cuilcagh, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) when this project is complete that must be the next objective.